The Christmas season is all about family traditions - continuing old ones and starting new ones. Whether your Santa visit is a continuing tradition or this is the first year for your family's Santa visit, it's important to make it a memorable, fun time. Sure, there are lots of Santa options in the greater Seattle area but there's one Santa experience that is head and shoulders above all the others. That Santa experience is at the downtown Seattle Nordstrom. It provides a great, family oriented, classy Santa experience that is fun for kids and adults of all ages.
Santa sets up shop at the downtown Seattle Nordstrom (the flagship store) in the retail heart of Seattle. You can find Santa, Mrs. Claus and his elves at 6th Avenue and Pine, ready to pose for pictures with you and your family. Santa arrives early in the season staying almost a full month in residence at Nordstrom from the day after Thanksgiving until Christmas Eve.
Warning: the line to visit Santa can be long but it IS worth it. The Santa experience here is top notch. It starts when you get in line as Santa's helpers deliver hot apple cider and cookies (sugar, oatmeal raisin, and chocolate chip) to you. They come back frequently so you're sure to get a few treats in while you wait. Typically the line starts outside of the building. Along 6th Avenue, there is a viewing window and you can see the families sitting on Santa's lap having their pictures taken. Santa is miked up so you can listen in on his cute conversations with the kids. While you're waiting and enjoying your cookies, the elves will come by and give you the photo order form to fill out. Photo package prices range from approximately $15 - $40. Photos can be picked up at Nordstrom or mailed to you for a small price. Once you move up in the line and enter the building, you'll be served more cookies and cider. Additionally, there are coloring sheets and crayons to keep the kids amused while you wait in line.
The décor of Santa's workshop is always top notch. The backdrop for the Santa photos is a fireplace mantle. It photographs well with vibrant reds and bright whites. It's a very classy backdrop and you'll be able to tell in your pictures that this is no average "mall Santa" experience.
When you finally get to Santa, be prepared for an engaging experience where you won't feel rushed. Santa spends at least 10 minutes with each group. Mrs. Claus greets you and helps you get organized to see Santa. She even has a lint brush you can borrow. Santa is a pro and has it down to a science when it comes to getting all of your kids situated and happy on his lap. The professional photographer takes several shots and is skilled at getting the kids to smile and look at the camera. Then, you're free to take as many pictures as you want with your own camera. You can add adults to the picture with Santa and the kids or take pictures of each kid separately. Santa is really patient with this and encourages you to get the pictures you want.
Once the photos are done, Santa spends time with each child asking them what they would like for Christmas. He also reminds you to leave cookies and milk out, as well as some carrots for the reindeer. These conversations with Santa make a great candid photo opportunity. He sends each chlid away with a candy cane and a great memory of their time with Santa.
To estimate how long it will be once you're in line, here's a good rule of thumb. If the line is down 6th Avenue to the Nordstrom espresso station, it will be approximately 2.5 to 3 hours until you see the big man. Once you hit the inside of the building, it will be roughly 1 hour until you are sitting on Santa's lap. If someone from your group can get in line early and wait it out, that's a good strategy. Coordinate to have the rest of your party there before you get enter Santa's area and then you don't have everyone waiting in line for the whole time. There are bathrooms in Nordstrom (closest one is in the basement, accessible from 6th Avenue).
Additionally, the Nordstrom Santa experience features multi-cultural (African-American, Hispanic, and Asian American) Santas at special hours. Call the store for specific hours.
Hours vary. Call the store at 206-628-1000 for hours and further information.
Once you're downtown, make a day of it. There are a lot of other activities right there in the downtown vicinity to enjoy with the family. At Westlake Center, there is a Holiday Carousel that is great. Cost is $2 donation. The line here is generally pretty short and this is a fun addition to the day for kids. There are a number of restaurants and shopping opportunities right there in that immediate vicinity so get out there and make a full day of it!